Why the Middle Class is Being Destroyed

Nearly 30 years ago, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published “The Bell Curve,” which became notorious for its chapter that highlighted differences in IQ test results by race. But that controversy overshadowed the primary focus of the book, which was that the human race is dividing into a cognitive elite and everyone else.

In the book, the authors argue that for the first time in history, humans are far more likely to marry their intellectual equals. “As the century progressed,” they write, “the historical mix of intellectual abilities at all levels of American society thinned as intelligence rose to the top. The upper end of the cognitive ability distribution has been increasingly channeled into higher education, especially the top colleges and professional schools, thence into high-IQ occupations and senior managerial positions. The scattered brightest of the early twentieth century have congregated, forming a new class.”

Herrnstein and Murray went on to predict an alliance between the cognitive elite and the affluent, writing, “For most of the century, intellectuals and the affluent have been antagonists,” but that now, “the very bright have become much more uniformly affluent than they used to be while, at the same time, the universe of affluent people has become more densely populated by the very bright. Not surprisingly, the interests of affluence and the cognitive elite have begun to blend.”

Although parts of The Bell Curve have been hotly debated, these two predictions—the formation of a cognitive elite, and the alliance of the cognitive elite […] Read More